You've been warned: children are EXHAUSTING!
Especially if they're small like mine, who are three-and-a-half and one-and-a-half. You can't keep your eyes and hands off of them; and they can't stop asking for everything under the sun.
Can you pick me up? Can I take my jacket off? Can you hold my jacket? Can I have ice-cream? Can you buy me that?
All day long.
That's just the older one, who can at least communicate. The toddler points and screams, then hurts herself in some bizarre way.
|Comfortable in yoga wear at Disneyland.|
|Easy travels in cotton shirt dress over capri-style tights and sandals. (BTW, mountains in the SW are beautiful!)|
Our recent vacation to Southern California was, therefore, not a vacation at all.
But hey, our family needed bonding after losing a significant member. And, frankly, all Seattleittes need sun after each winter.
I understand you're much too young to have children.
But for future reference, the travel tips below might come handy.
Traveling with small children - tips and style:
|Riding boots are both fashionable and walkable.|
1. Make travel time as short as possible.
Toddlers won't behave after being strapped in for longer than two to three hours.
Trust me! I learned the hard way: we took our oldest to China when she was one, and even bought her own seat, envisioning that she will sleep for the 12-hour flight. The kid stayed awake the entire time -- bouncing, laughing, crying, screaming, playing, squirming...can you imaging wrestling a 25-pound kid for 12 hours straight?
If you can, do yourself a favor, and vacation somewhere that doesn't require long travel time. (Hence, SoCal for us Seattle folks.) If you're lucky, your kid will sleep. If not, you've only a few hours (of hell) anyway.
2. Save up before the trip.
You can't skimp like you used to with kids. It's impossible. Even well-behaved, reasonable children ask for expensive souvenirs and treats -- and because it's vacation, you want to splurge on them.
When things get too costly -- and you're too busy to manage money -- you'll start to feel pressure, and start having a bad time. Then, everyone else will have a bad time.
Now that's just no fun!
Plan the trip at least a few months ahead, and allow ample time to save up for extras. If you want to, do what my family does, and open a free checking account nicknamed "vacation," and put any extra money towards it each month. (Any extra money after retirement contribution, basic savings, debt, college funds...of course.) By vacation time, you'll (hopefully) have enough to enjoy the trip with.
3. Pay extra to live in comfort.
Suites (with separate rooms) cost more than regular hotel rooms, but they are soooooooooooooooooooo worth the money!
After putting the kids to bed, you and your significant other can savor in a few hours of peace in a separate room. That's a paramount of pleasure for a set of worn-out parents!
4. Find a hotel that offers continental breakfast.
Hungry kids become angry kids in a matter of seconds. Early in the morning, no one wants to tamper with that kind of danger. Find a hotel that offers breakfast, so you don't have to scramble out the door, in search of food, with little ones screaming from hunger.
You're not doing this to save money; you're doing it to keep sane.
5. Rent a van. It's also worth the extra cost.
I WANT A MINIVAN!
There. I said it. I dreaded the look of them in my 20's, and now I want one, because minivans have sliding doors, lots of room, and surprisingly powerful acceleration. They're comfy, safe, and perfect for traveling. Our rented van took us up and down the SoCal coast. It was a pleasure to ride!
By the way, car seat rentals are expensive. Better to bring your own.
6. Use smaller, nearby airports.
With kids, you'll need a car to get around anyway, so you might as well fly in and out of nearby airports that are smaller and have less traffic. Doing so saves both time and hassle.
Last year we flew into LAX, and took over two hours to get a rental car. This year, we tried Ontario Airport, which is just East of Orange County, and it took only 15 minutes. What a huge difference!
7. Take it easy.
People on vacation often run on adrenaline, and feel an urge to hit every hot spot in town. With two little ones, you probably shouldn't be as ambitious.
After a sweaty, active day at Disneyland, all I wanted to do was to eat tacos by myself. Our family spent the next day "relaxing" on the beach. Quotes around relaxing because it wasn't. The kids took off running in the sand, and someone had to chase them. But the beach was calmer than a crowded theme park.
Also, if you can afford it, there are nanny services for hotel rooms. Browse online and you'll see many choices. We didn't use any, but I've read good reviews.
8. Dress in comfort.
People on vacation also tend to dress extra nice. Some people even put themselves on a diet beforehand. With kids, though, it's wiser to pack and wear comfortable yet presentable style, which is (hopefully) represented in the pictures from today's Fashion Blog post.
By the way, some airlines charge as much as $100 for bags over 50 pounds. Makes me want to do college all over again, and study alternative fuel.
Pack light; bring comfortable clothes; and wear heavy stuff (like boots and coats) on the plane.
|A big mom purse helps carry knick knacks kids accumulate.|
|Wearing a flow-y top for an "easy" breezy beach day.|
|Animal prints at the zoo - how appropriate.|